HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall University, building on its reputation as the premier cyber security academic institution in Appalachia and in an unprecedented move that will bolster national cybersecurity capabilities in protecting our nation’s critical infrastructure, has received a substantial investment of $45 million from the state of West Virginia.
This boost will establish a state-of-the-art Institute for Cyber Security, positioning the university at the forefront of cyber defense and research.
“Through our West Virginia Forward efforts, which identified cyber security as a potential growth area for our state, Marshall has emerged as a national leader in developing advanced techniques, tools, and methodologies to protect critical infrastructure, and state, national, and industry assets; as well as developing the skilled workforce,” said Marshall President Brad D. Smith. “This is a landmark moment for our university, marking profound commitment to safeguarding our digital future and addressing the escalating challenges of the cyber landscape.
“West Virginia has many legislative leaders with the economic foresight and passion for strengthening West Virginia’s competitive edge in our global economy. The Marshall University community thanks them for their steadfast leadership.”
“All of this would not be possible without the strong support of our West Virginia Congressional Delegation as well,” Smith continued. “U.S. Sen. Manchin and U.S. Sen Capito have worked tirelessly to help develop strategic partnerships with federal agencies that have led to Marshall’s selection as a Center of Excellence for Cyber Security by the U.S. Cyber Command, as well as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the National Security Agency.”
Gov. Jim Justice included the supplemental appropriation funding for legislators to consider during a special session this week in Charleston, saying Marshall is quickly becoming the cyber security hub of Appalachia.
“Marshall University is poised to become a national leader in cyber security and this $45 million boost is proof we as a state wholeheartedly endorse and support the program’s growth,” Justice said. “The remarkable efforts of President Smith and his team at Marshall are truly exceptional, and we should all be proud that one of our state’s top universities is making significant strides in this critical industry. I thank those in the West Virginia Legislature for their efforts in appropriating these funds.”
Smith said significant kudos go to West Virginia’s policy leaders for the critical investment which will build a cyber security ecosystem on the East Coast.
Senate President Craig Blair said he was so proud of the Legislature for their support of the investment into Marshall.
“We are working to be the leader in driving high-tech, new economy jobs, and I am excited that we’ll be able to educate and train an entire new generation of cybersecurity experts right here in the State of West Virginia. President Smith’s expertise and experience make Marshall the perfect fit for a program like this one, and I applaud his leadership in the development of the Institute for Cyber Security,” Blair said.
The funding will build a new facility in the 4th Avenue Innovation District of Huntington and will serve as an important anchor for the area that is being developed as a transformational, innovation-led, mixed-use area strategically located between downtown Huntington and Marshall’s Huntington campus.
“The work Marshall University has already put into this effort is exciting for the entire state, and we should all applaud their foresight,” said House Speaker Roger Hanshaw. “At a time when so many of our state’s leaders are collaborating to put West Virginia on the map as a leader in a 21st Century economy, I was proud to cast a vote to help allocate one-time surplus funds to help invest in this infrastructure that will boost the university as a national leader in cybersecurity.”
The proposed building will house state-of-the-art cyber security technology and training programs and become the cyber locus, where industry from throughout Appalachia and the country will find training, mentoring and learn the most up-to-date cyber trends.
It is estimated there are more than 700,000 cyber security job openings in the United States alone.
Marshall is already working collaboratively with the U.S. Department of Education and West Virginia State University to advance workforce development.